Back in February of this year, a self-driving Lexus SUV operated by Google collided with a public bus in Mountain View, CA. Apparently, cameras aboard the bus recorded the Lexus edging into the path of the bus and hitting its right side. Google said the car was responsible for the crash. Other accidents involving self-driving cars have been reported over the years, but Google officials have always blamed other drivers for those crashes. Legally, there must still be a person behind the wheel on these self-driving cars while they are being tested on public roads in case of an emergency. According to Google, the Lexus was trying to compensate for two small sandbags on the side of the road (as opposed to a large public bus?). The car’s software and the driver apparently assumed that the bus would let the Lexus merge into the lane and the Google employee did not take over control of the car.
The idea of self-driving cars scares me. While I see automobile accidents happen every day due to human failure, having machines make split-second decisions that may affect lives is concerning. In my business, I deal with people who are negligent. I cannot even fathom trying to bring into court a negligence claim against a computer. I suppose that with more and more self-driving cars on the road, in the future there will be more and more claims at negligent entrustment and negligence based on the failure of maintenance.
If you have been injured by the negligence of another (or machine), call LaBovick Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.